Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Claude and Maude c. 1893

I've been trying to figure out just which two children of the Timblin family are in this photo. Since John McClellan Timblin and his wife Mary Susan Sophia Hunt Timblin had one son, Claude, then I'm assuming that it's the sister closest in age to Claude, who is sitting for this photograph. That sister would be my grandma, Maude (Timblin Petersen Haselhuhn.)

The birth dates for these two are 1887 and 1889. Although the photo is undated, I think that the year 1893 fits, for if it had been taken later than that, the next child, Ruby, would most likely have been in the photograph also.

Poor Claude. He had six sisters! At least they wouldn't have been fighting over who gets the shower next.

I never knew my great uncle Claude, but I did have the privilege of knowing my great aunts: Ruby, Hazel, Jessie, Verna, and Bessie. Except for Bessie who died of cancer in 1967, my great aunts all lived to their nineties. I remember attending Great Aunt Ruby's 100th birthday party!

All of those great saints looked forward to seeing their Savior. What a blessing it is, to have such vivid memories of their hospitality, their generosity, and their faith in God.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire Moors

It was in the spring of 2003 that I first set eyes on the haunting remains of Rievaulx Abbey on the North Yorkshire Moors. What an amazing, imposing structure! I tried to imagine what Rievaulx would have looked like in the 12th century when it was built and inhabited by Cistercian monks.

This pic show Angela and Gus, dwarfed by the ruins of Rievaulx.

Some of the ideas used in planning the structure of the church, the part of the monastic complex you see in my photos, came from the European travels of Aelred, one of Rievaulx's most prominent abbots. Travel in those days was not by air or rail! Contrast Aelred with the people you know today who've never set foot outside the county in which they were born!

The Presbytery. Altar.

A dozen or so of the 'white monks,' so named for the color of habit they wore, moved to northern England from France, for the purpose of spreading the Gospel to northern England and Scotland. They built on the thousand acres donated to the order by the lord of Helmsley Castle (the town of nearby Helmsley is a subject for another post), and by the mid 1100s at its peak, there were as many as 650 men living at Rievaulx.

Their economic business was raising sheep and selling wool, so the monastery was greatly impacted when disease decimated the flock. But the ultimate threat to the monastery was Henry VIII, when he separated from the Catholic Church, declared himself head of the Church of England, and began the dissolution of the monasteries.

Rievaulx, just before sheets of rain came wafting across the valley.

Another shot of the Presbytery.

All of these photos were taken by me, although if you did a Google image search, you would find many similar photos for Rievaulx. I guess we're all impressed by the same things.

Having read Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, it's hard not to picture a monastery without at least one monk who's up to no good.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Visiting the Grandkids

On Saturday, we drove to the Cities to spend the day with our son and his family. Fortunately, they live only 2 1/2 hours away. It is always wonderful to see them! Unfortunately, we all get busy and time passes quickly, so we don't see them as often as I'd like. My new goal is once-a-month visits. (What? You tell me they moved and didn't leave a forwarding address??) ;-) Okay, maybe that's unrealistic. But I'd sure like to try.

Above is Brogan and his new John Deere clock. Every hour it 'chimes' the sound of a different John Deere tractor engine. I thought it would be a good choice for a boy who loves John Deere everything!

Pictured below is our oldest author-granddaughter Anna and one of her novels! You can actually hold it in your hands and read the 50,000 words within! She is a very talented young writer!

Here I have a lovely shot of Eeyore Boone with his rifle. You didn't know that Eeyore carried a rifle, did you! Look at that smile. Hey, wait a minute! That's way too happy to be Eeyore. I wonder who it is!

Granddaughter Elisabeth with her beautiful, sparkling eyes just under that visor. Too bad I didn't get a lower shot. You'll just have to take my word for it. She had to leave after a bit for ballet practice. We will be attending her recital the first weekend in May. I can't wait for that!

And here is the lovely mama who is due to deliver Brother #3 in a couple weeks. Three young boys in the house will ensure great quantities of noise, fun, and adventure! (It's always the 'adventure' part that's a little scary.)

I'm bugging Stacey for that artichoke dip recipe. It was delicious. And Kevin grilled the steaks perfectly! But I think Soren has his eyes on those cookies.

I wonder how often that sweet smile will get him out of trouble... :-) How can it not just melt your heart!!

Daddy and Grandpa discussing politics, work, radio-controlled airplanes, and 'precious metals,' as Kevin calls them: silver, gold, and lead. :-)

Jasmine, patiently waiting for someone to drop a little bite of steak.

It was a lovely day, but it would have been nice to have the upper 60s temps that we're expecting this week. Next time we go, it will be most likely be for the hospital visit of Stacey and the new Baby Brother! :-)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Go Fly a Kite, Joe!

It was a perfect March day for flying a kite. We all went to the hill north of the house to watch Joe fly his new kite. Evidently Bridger thinks he needs assistance.

Okay, so when it finally took a dive, Kevin, Bridger, and Misty ran down the hill to retrieve the kite.

Well, you can't expect the dogs to stay interested in kites forever when there are moles to deal with!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

COOKIES: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Recipe

Yes, they're as good as they look. This is an altered recipe. In other words, I took a couple different ideas, changed things a bit, and mixed up this gluten-free dough.

This recipe makes approximately 6 dozen cookies, and each cookie is at least 3" in diameter.

With your electric mixer, just to make things easier, cream together the following ingredients:

1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. Crisco shortening
2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs

In a separate bowl, combine the following:
3 c. white rice flour
1 c. tapioca flour
1/2 c. potato starch
2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
2 t. salt

Now, with the electric mixer running at a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. I like to add a half cup at a time. Continue to mix until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Slowly add 12-24 oz. semisweet chocolate chips and 1 c. chopt walnuts. Mix thoroughly.

Roll cookie dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Grease cookie sheets. I use large jelly roll pans and get a dozen cookies on each pan. You should probably place them about 2.5 to 3 inches apart.

Bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes. Remove from oven, let cookies cool while still on pans.

If the cookies look suspiciously moist after they have sat out for a minute or two, I return them to the oven for another minute. That should take care of any remaining glossiness and make sure the cookies are done.

I actually added a half package of butterscotch chips to this recipe, but next time I'll just use the chocolate chips and walnuts. The butterscotch chips made them too sweet for me. I should have known better than to try to improve on chocolate chips and walnuts!

These cookies are going to the grandkids today! Don't worry, I will leave a plate of cookies with Joe too. :-)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Survey 2010, Part Two

The first thing I notice when walking toward the hill is the sandbox. I have a head start on getting it ready with toys, for evidently I didn't take them into the garage last fall to be stored there over winter. I need to add a couple of new items, I think. The old ones are getting quite faded.

After years of a failed raspberry patch, where each springtime revealed nothing but 4" tall chewed raspberry canes, we finally got a chicken wire fence around the raspberries. After all, we have an abundance of bunnies, and there's only so much Bridger can do. It took some convincing to get Kevin to agree to the fencing. He couldn't see that it made economic sense to spend all that money on wire for 'a few dollars' worth of raspberries.' I'm not going to say 'I told you so,' but he's the one who pointed out the price of raspberries in the grocery store yesterday - $10.50 per pound. I think he might be convinced that the eleven gallons of raspberries we harvested from the patch last year were worth the chicken wire, though I'm not going to risk asking him.

This is not the beautiful garden that we saw last July and August. This is the ugly spring garden. It won't be much longer before we can pull up all that carpet, till the garden, place the plants and seeds in the soil, mulch, and then when the grass starts growing, cover the 'aisles' with carpet. Old carpet works great for keeping weeds out from between the rows, and is great on the knees when weeding around plants. It also dried out quickly after a rain, which prevented a mold problem for quite a while.

This photo of the little backyard pool was taken early in the morning, so it looks like there may be a film of ice on top. Shortly after Mother's Day, the nursery where I purchase water hyacinths (40 miles away!) will get in their shipment from the South, where water hyacinths are considered a noxious weed.

Shortly before then, I will drain all the murky water from the pond, remove all the stinky, decayed leaves, (truly, it's just like working in a sewer!) rescue the surviving snails who are a very important part of this little ecosystem, scrub the rubber pond liner, fill it with fresh water, and start up the recirculating pump. I love the sound of water falling over the rocks in the little stream we built.

Water hyacinths and snails ensure a clean pond all summer long, without having to resort to chemicals of any kind. The pond also makes a great water bowl for the dogs! :-) I can't wait until it looks like this again!

It's always much more fun to get the pond ready than it is to wash the windows on the house, but it would be nice to be able to see through the glass. I suppose I should put that on my list of spring projects as well.

Another all-too-frequent springtime project is bathing Misty after she's applied her favorite perfume. Now that the snow is gone, Misty wanders about, finding the most putrid, disgusting animal feces and carcasses and works at applying them with great care to her neck and belly. Isn't it lovely!

Do you have a list of springtime projects?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Starting Seeds Indoors

I couldn't wait to get my tomato and pepper seeds started! I've heard it said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, that could apply to any one of us in NW Wisconsin when we look at the gorgeous seed catalogs, buy our seed packets, our potting soil, and the little biodegradable containers in which to plant them. Every year we think that it's THE year for success, and that the resulting plants will look just as healthy and hearty as those we could purchase from a nursery. We are full of springtime optimism.
I don't think the desired results have ever quite been achieved; nevertheless, with sunny, warm spring days and every Menards, Farm & Fleet, and WalMart carrying seed packets, it's impossible to walk out of there without purchasing at least some seeds and going home greatly inspired and hopeful.

Besides the potting soil, I also purchased the little starter containers, a total of 50 cells. Who could possibly need more than 50, right? Because last year I planted 48 tomato plants and just about as many pepper plants, I had decided ahead of time that this year I only need 6 plants of each. That's good in theory. The trouble is, how can you plant only 6 seeds when there are still many left in the packet?

So after carefully picking up each microscopic tomato seed and planting it, I realized that I was going to need more planting cells. I mean, after all, I've only got two types of tomatoes (I've never held it against Dan Quayle that he couldn't spell potato. Remember the days when the worst thing we could find about a politician was that he couldn't spell potato???) So I have hybrids this year: Early Girl, which was a huge success last year, and Best Boy. Then I planted Poblano peppers and Carmen peppers. I don't know that the Carmens will actually ripen to a scarlet red, but we'll see. I still need to plant jalapenos, green bell peppers, zinneas, and I'm sure I'll think of something else. Today I had to go back to the store for more planting cells.

Also, they have these cool and cheap little plastic greenhouses. I expect they will work so much better than my improvised greenhouses from last year. Each greenhouse holds 50 cells. Now they're sitting on the bench next to our bedroom window. The advantage of the purchased greenhouse is that if Lionel or Tuppence should decide to walk over or lie on top of them, I think the noise of the plastic crinkling will scare them off. Let's hope so.
The photo of Lionel is thrown in for free. When I went upstairs to take a photo of the greenhouse, Lionel was sitting up on the bed like a furry Buddha. He sat there looking at me the entire time I was in the bedroom. I love that cat!

So are you starting seeds indoors? If so, what are you planting? And what else should I be starting indoors?


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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Survey 2010, Part One

I had to get out with the camera, to take a spring survey of sorts. I love to see how everything is doing after the covering of snow is gone! One of my favorite daily activities is taking the dogs for a walk, doing our laps around the alfalfa field to the north of our house. I am so thankful that our forecast for the entire week calls for temps in the 50s. With our snow gone, walks around the field are definitely on the daily schedule.

We start out heading toward the top of our hill. Often, in the warmer days of spring or summer, Kevin and I will throw a camp chair over the shoulder and walk to the top of the hill, so we can sit and talk while enjoying the beautiful view we find in all directions. Bridger and Misty always accompany us.

In this picture, Bridger is, as usual, trying to engage Misty in dog play. Bridger at nine years old, is still acting like a puppy. Misty has been pretty serious ever since we got her from the shelter when she was three years old.
She is a sweet and loyal dog, but wishes that Bridger would simply act his age!

Near the top of the hill, I snapped a picture of our view to the southwest. I love the mixture of evergreens, oaks, birch, and maples - even before they leaf out! We get kinda crazy about spring around here, for our winters are so long.

As they emerge from the soil, all bits of green growth are met with praise and thanksgiving. Still, I am mostly looking forward to the asparagus and daffodils! Unlike tulip bulbs, daffodils don't seem to be among the rodents' favorite meals. And thank you, Lord, for daffodils. They're so perky and cheering!

As I was inserting the picture of our old barn, I was reminded of Sesame Street's 'Which of These Things Doesn't Belong Here?' song. But I love this old barn and had to snap the photo. Rob and Joe spent many hours throwing tennis balls at this poor old barn, in order to practice their catching skills. It would be nice to get the barn restored before it's too late. From what I hear, however, it would be a very costly project!

Have you noticed any encouraging signs of spring in your backyard?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Doors

The coffee is brewing. I'm going to drink an extra cup today, for now they are thinking that coffee inhibits the formation of the proteins that cause plaques to form on the neurons of the brain. So drink up!! My coffee intake has to be before noon, for I do like to be able to sleep at night, rather than lie awake and wired at 3AM.

Sorry. I digress. This is Tuesday again, travelogue day. Today I'm posting photos I took of doors in the town of Richmond in North Yorkshire. I love the many interesting doors we found.

To begin with, Richmond is a stunningly beautiful town with an 11th century castle that stands high above the river Swale. Stone buildings, stone alleyways, and brightly colored doors are what first caught my attention. When you think about it, the primary colors used on the doors and window trim are some of the most distinguishing features of the otherwise quite homogenous, but beautiful, stonescape.

I think this bright blue door with its elliptical pebbled glass, its transom, and the little white roof above is my favorite. Isn't that just the most inviting door! It's almost tempting one to knock on the door and ask if tea's ready. Don't worry, I didn't.

We visited Richmond in March, an excellent time to have the place to ourselves and avoid the great hoard of tourists that descends later in the season. But imagine how beautiful it must be the end of May, when the trellises are full of flowers!

I think I need to buy a half gallon of paint and make our own entry door more inviting! It might also help to take down the 'Protected by German Shepherd Home Security System' and 'Yield to Pedestrians' signs.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vintage Custard Cup

This little brown pottery custard cup is the first of only two things for which I ever asked my mom. The other is a picture that hangs in our bathroom (later post).

The sweet little custard cup had been in our kitchen for as long as I can remember. At the top it is about 3 3/8 inches in diameter, and is a solid creme color on the inside. I think what I loved about it as a kid is that the glaze is amazingly smooth.
It was also so sturdy and plain.

When I was a kid, my mom often gave us treat cups. 'Treats' usually consisted of walnuts, chocolate chips, and raisins. Sometimes they were in this custard cup, and sometimes they were in egg cups or even in stainless steel egg poaching cups! I still like treat cups, unsurprisingly. But today's treats are usually contained by laundry soap bottle lids or measuring cups.

Now, unless I have it sitting out full of almonds or craisins, my favorite little custard cup lives in the hutch next to my grandma's cookie jar.

Do you have a favorite piece of pottery or glassware that came from someone special?


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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Travel Diary of Samuel Peeps - Home Again

Bridger sniffs Samuel curiously.
"Leave it!" ... click ... "Good boy, Bridger!"

The travel diary of Samuel Peeps has come to an end. Samuel is a little worse for wear, was smashed once by my seatbelt while resting in my pocket...and is a bit dried out. He may be dispatched shortly, or be put on the shelf waiting for another adventure.

When we looked out the window of our room at Super 8 this morning, we saw everything covered with snow and ice, and the 25 mph winds were promising a challenging drive. After we packed up our stuff, we went out to get the ice and snow off the car, but had nothing with which to remove it. Kevin made a feeble attempt to use a coat hanger until a woman parked next to us offered us her ice scraper. She asked what people from Wisconsin were doing out without an ice scraper! Kevin told her that he'd just taken two of them out of the car before we had left for Texas. Who would have thought we would have needed them! Turns out the woman was in the Kansas City area with wild ducks that she was taking to a wild bird auction! AND that she was from Chippewa Falls! You come across the strangest things! (not the woman...but the situation).

We left the Kansas City area for home about 9 AM. It was nasty! Blustery, icy, slushy, etc. We saw many cars and a couple semis in the ditches. It wasn't until north of DesMoines that we no longer had to deal with snow. Even there, there were traces of snow in the ditches. How wonderful it was to get home and find no snow at all!!! :-)

Joe, Bridger, and Misty were all on the deck, waiting to greet us! Joe wasn't quite as excited as the dogs were to see us, didn't wag his tail nearly as much or run back and forth like he was crazy. Still, I'm assuming that because he came out to meet us, he was glad to see us back. :-)

True to form, Joe had the house in tiptop shape for our return. It is so nice to leave the house clean, know that there is serious partying going on while we are gone, but still return to the house looking just as I had left it. Joe has this down to a science!

I was so glad to be able to take the dogs on a walk in the field - first walk to the top of the hill since last fall!

Kevin is spooning melted butter onto the popcorn he just popped. :-)

We are so thankful that God brought us through the storm and home again safely!

The Travel Diary of Samuel Peeps Day Nine

A little after 9:30 AM, we said our goodbyes to Angie and Gus at our guest house in Grapevine, and left for Wisconsin. It has been wonderful to have the past week with them!

We're hearing that there's a snowstorm forecast for tonight and tomorrow. We're hoping to stay ahead
of it. Bought fuel and got on the road.

Oklahoma is beautiful, but I don't think I'd want to try to garden in that red clay!

I gained a different (and much better, I might add) attitude toward Kansas this time driving through.

We passed through immense grazing country,
something like 4 million acres of land in the Flint Hills, on which a million head of cattle graze! Of those, several hundred thousand head of cattle are trucked in from all over the Southwest to graze during the growing season. This is a high, vast plateau. In every direction, as far as we could see, was grazing land. We couldn't stop long enough to get a photo, but I pulled this one from the internet. You can see that it is later in the season. What we saw was brown grass.

I got a phone call from Joe mid-afternoon, wondering if I knew where the cookie sheets are. Evidently he's baking chocolate chip cookies for his all-night party guests. He also wanted to know what time we were planning to be home. That's always not a good sign. :-) Actually, he's always managed to get the house cleaned up by the time we've returned from a trip so that it looks great when we arrive. I hear that today he drove to town to buy pop, leaving one of his friends to vacuum the house. Smart boy! :-)

We arrived near Kansas City about 5 PM. I think we're about half way home. The manager of Waffle House, next to our Super 8, told us they're expecting 2-4 inches of snow tonight with 4 more tomorrow. We're hoping she's wrong.

Quick note Saturday morning:
Yep, we got the snow last night and are already hearing reports of accidents on the freeway. So, we're heading home on a freeway filled with drivers who aren't used to driving in snow. I'm glad for the sovereignty of God.


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